Friday, July 21, 2017

Interview with writer and novelist Stephen Clark

Debut thriller author Stephen Clark joins me today to talk about Citizen Kill.

Stephen Clark is a former award-winning journalist who served as a staff writer for the Los Angeles Times and as a politics editor for the Washington, D.C. bureau of Stephen grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia and now lives in North Jersey with his wife and son.

Welcome, Stephen. Please tell us about your current release.
Citizen Kill tells the story of a covert effort to finally end the War on Terror after the president loses her son in a devastating explosion. Her administration authorizes the launch of a CIA program that targets for assassination U.S. citizens suspected of radicalizing Muslims. Among the recruits is Justin Raines, a suspended operative determined to redeem himself after a botched assignment overseas. But when he is assigned to kill a mysterious Muslim educator that he believes is innocent, he grows disillusioned. Now he must find a way to prove her innocence and derail the program before they both are assassinated.

What inspired you to write this book?
I was inspired by then-Attorney General Eric Holder’s declaration in 2012 that it was constitutional for the government to kill U.S. citizens overseas without any judicial review if they were deemed a terrorist threat. Holder’s declaration came after a U.S. drone attack killed an American-born Muslim cleric in the Arabian Peninsula. Given my experience covering national politics at, I thought it would be fascinating to write a story that took that policy to its logical conclusion.

What exciting story are you working on next?
A psychological thriller centered on a deadly police shooting that sets the shooting cop on a collision course with the victim’s family.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When my wife gave me an ultimatum: our family or my novel and I chose to finish my novel. LOL. Actually, I’ve considered myself a writer since I was a young boy spinning revenge fantasies in my journal against my siblings for real or perceived grievances. After college, I briefly worked as a financial advisor for American Express. But I could not ignore my true calling and soon I was packing my bags to pursue a career as a journalist.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
Now I’m a full-time marketing professional for a Wall Street law firm. During the week, I sneak in as much writing as I can at night and during my one-hour-plus commute. The weekend, though, is when I really start cooking.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Not sure how quirky or unusual this is, but I often get my best ideas on the toilet or in the shower. Then I end up scrambling to finish what I’m doing so I don’t forget the idea by the time I get to my computer.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
As the child of a Pentecostal preacher, I was groomed to walk in my father’s footsteps. But before I enrolled in Bible school in Oklahoma, I rebelled and devoted my life to worldly pleasures.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Not only do I love reading books, I also enjoy watching prestige dramas. My favorite shows of all time are: The Sopranos, The Wire, Breaking Bad, and The Leftovers.


Thank you for being here today, Stephen!

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